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Booze. Coke. Hazing. Forced redeployment. What's wrong with the Navy SEALs?
SEALs were walking on water as the best military force in the world a decade ago. They killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. They rescued Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. No one seemed more professional or capable than they were.
The only thing more remarkable about how much esteem the SEALs had is how far they've fallen since then. In the latest disgrace, the special operations commander in Iraq just unceremoniously kicked out a SEAL platoon, "Due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods," U.S. Special Operations Command has announced.
"The Commander lost confidence in the team's ability to accomplish the mission," A SOCOM news release said.
Defense officials are not saying exactly what these special operators did to deserve being sent back to San Diego early, but Navy Times Editor Carl Prine revealed the SEALs allegedly threw an alcohol-soaked July 4th party.
Coincidentally, the SEALs came from the same team as Eddie Gallagher, who was recently found not guilty of murder after being accused of stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death in Mosul in 2017, according to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Andrew Dyer.
Although Gallagher was cleared on the most serious charges, he was found guilty of unlawfully posing with an enemy corpse. Others in the SEAL platoon were also in those photos, and the court-martial subsequently revealed those SEALs constructed a bar at their compound and were regularly drinking alcohol.
Gallagher's commanding officer is scheduled to go to trial in September. If that weren't bad enough, Navy Times reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz recently reported that six members with SEAL Team 10 who used cocaine and other drugs were able to pass their piss tests by replacing their urine for clean samples, according to an internal investigation.
Meanwhile, two SEALs have been implicated in the hazing death of Special Forces Sgt. Logan Melgar in Mali. Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph is accused of placing Melgar in a chokehold until he asphyxiated. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews, who pleaded guilty to hazing, assault, and other charges in May, is also under investigation for allegedly trying to flirt with and manipulate Melgar's widow.
But If the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, the Navy SEALs have a pretty long way to go before hitting bottom. When asked about the numerous criminal investigations involving SEALs, SOCOM's senior enlisted leader's message was: Remain calm; all is well.
"We do not have a systemic problem," Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Smith said shortly before news broke that the SEAL platoon was being kicked out of Iraq. "We have a pretty large population of Navy special warfare [operators] and overwhelmingly the vast majority – 99.8% are at the top of the line."
SOCOM understands the leaders are responsible for knowing about and responding to ethical and disciplinary lapses, so the command has "been holding significant leadership accountable," including platoon and section leaders, Smith said.
He was unable to say which leaders he was referring to or what administrative or disciplinary action they have faced.
On the matter of unauthorized punishments, Task & Purpose asked Smith about the prevalence of hazing in the SEAL community.
When he pleaded guilty in the Melgar case, Matthews claimed that he and three other U.S. special operators planned to duct tape Melgar's wrists and ankles because binding people is "a form of remediation" in the special warfare community. (Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe subsequently revealed that Matthews and the others also planned to make a video of a security guard sexually assaulting Melgar.)
Smith disputed Matthews' claim that SEALs and other special operators frequently discipline their own by tying them up with duct tape.
"I have been in this community for 25 of my 30 years and I have never been exposed, seen or heard of binding people up as common practice within our community – and that is within the joint force," Smith said.
SEE ALSO: Eddie Gallagher was found not guilty on the most serious charges, but he could still leave the Navy as an E1
WATCH NEXT: A Navy SEAL Is Accused Of Committing War Crimes In Iraq
Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
In the wake of a heartwarming viral video that was featured everywhere from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail comes a disheartening revelation: The 84-year-old self-described Army nurse cranking out push-ups in her crisp Vietnam-era uniform might not be who she said she was.
Maggie DeSanti, allegedly a retired Army lieutenant colonel who rappeled out of helicopters in Vietnam, was captured in a video challenging a TSA agent to a push-up competition ahead of a flight to Washington, D.C., with the Arizona chapter of the organization Honor Flight on Oct. 16. The video soon was everywhere, and many who shared it, including Honor Flight, hailed DeSanti's toughness and spirit.
‘Nice girls don't join the military': New commander of Air Force refueling squadron proves her critics wrong
The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.
"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.
So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.
We salute the 93-year-old WWII veteran who refuses to retire, and opened up a 'boozy bakery' instead
Peach schnapps, sex on the beach, and piña colada may be familiar drinks to anyone who's spent an afternoon (or a whole day) getting plastered on an ocean-side boardwalk, but they're also specialty desserts at Ray's Boozy Cupcakes, Etc, a bakery in Voorhees, New Jersey run by a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Ray Boutwell.
A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.
Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.
The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."
SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.
Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.